Working Time Directive

The Working Time Directive

Please note these rules are not the Drivers Hours Rules. The Working time directive is also known as the Road Transport Directive and these are a different set of rules which all HGV and PCV drivers must adhere to at the same time as the Drivers Hours Rules.

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The Working Time Directive Rules for Drivers:


What is the weekly maximum?

The total number of hours worked cannot exceed 60 hours within any fixed week.

What is the maximum weekly average?

Over the WTD period, usually 17 or 26 weeks, you must average no more than 48 hours per week.

I.e. Your hours should be monitored each week for 17 weeks. At which point you add them all together and divide the total by the amount of weeks within the period. This result must be no more than 48 hours.

What are the daily driving limits?

You cannot work for more than 6 accumulative hours without a break. As defined by the Drivers hour’s laws, a break must be at least 15 minutes in length in order to qualify as a break.

If you are to work between 6 – 9 hours, then you must accumulate 30 minutes of break across your shift.

You can do this by taking periods of breaks at least 15 minutes in length or a full 30 minutes of break all at once. Just remember to not work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break of at least 15 minutes.

If you continue to work up until you exceed 9 hours of WTD, then you must take a further 15 minute break. So 45 minutes of break across the shift in total. Again, this can be taken in periods of at least 15 minutes or more, or all at once provided you do not breach other regulations.

You can take this additional break at any time throughout the day once your duty has begun, and it may also be included on the end of another break, but it must be no later than after 9 hours of total WTD.

Note – Please note that your required 45 minute break to comply with driver’s hour’s law can be used as the same break to satisfy the WTD rules.

Example 1

In this first example the driver has spent 2 hours driving followed by 4 hours of working in the warehouse. At this point because they have reached the 6 hour threshold they choose to take a 30 minute break before they continue working as they know that another break will not be possible in the next 3 hours. They are then able to work for another 3 hours before they reach the 9 hour threshold and need to take a 15 minute break before continuing to work. They could also have taken the second 15 minute break on the end of the previous break and then worked straight through.

WTD Correct Break Example

Example 2

Here is another example where the driver has worked in the yard for 2 hours and then driven for 4 hours. At this point the driver has taken a 30 minute break to comply with the working time directive. The driver then continued to drive and because of the driver hours rules had to stop for another break of 30 minutes before continuing to drive for another 2 hours and working in the yard for another hour. Although this example is still correct and the rules have not been broken it is not the most efficient, as the driver still had more driving to do it would have been best to take the 45 minutes required to comply with the drivers hours rules instead of the first 30 minute break.

WTD Rules Example

Example 3

In this final example the driver has driven for 2 hours to a delivery where they have spent 30 minutes unloading and driven back to base. At this point the driver has only worked 5 hours in total however the drivers hours rules mean that a 45 minute break is required before they can continue to work. This 45 minute break does however cover the driver to continue to work past the 9 hour mark without taking another break. This example has been used to demonstrate that drivers must be aware of both the drivers hours rules and the working time directive regulations and ensure that they take their breaks to comply with both sets of rules at the same time.

Drivers Hours Break Example


Reference periods

The reference period is used to calculate your average working time directive. There are several different ways to keep a reference period and they can also consist of different lengths. The two most common ways are:

  • The Basic Fixed Calendar – This is a set period of time between 17 and 26 weeks where all of the WTD is added together and divided by the total number of weeks, this being the 48 hour average that should not be exceeded. Upon completion of the period this must be filed and a new period begins.


  • The Rolling Reference Period – This period can also be set between 17 and 26 weeks however unlike the basic fixed calendar this reference period never comes to an end, but instead uses the most recent period for calculating the 48 hour average. For example if running a 17 week rolling reference period you would replace week 1 as the 18th week is completed. Therefore you are calculating the WTD for you chosen period every week.


What happens with sick days and holidays?

For the purposes of calculating your WTD, any single days of holiday you take will be recorded as 8 hours of work. If you take 5 consecutive days of holiday, then a full week is recorded as being 48 hours. Any Holidays which you take beyond your contracted entitlement (usually 20 days) will be recorded as rest days and do not add any hours for your WTD

Sick days are calculated exactly the same as regular holidays and add 8 hours for a single day, or 48 hours for 5 consecutive days.

Bank Holidays are free days which do not count towards you working time directive. This is of course void if you work at all during the bank holiday.
Yard Work/Office Work and Training – If you spend entire days of work in an office or in the yard. These hours will be towards your working time directive as normal. You would be expected to do this with a logbook or time sheets.

Also, if you attend any training which in mandatory, this will also count towards your WTD. This does not include training which you do as part of your personal lifestyle or in your free time.

Note –  Some Drivers have completed their Driver CPC Training in their own time and therefore this has not counted towards their Working Time.

Derogations of the Working Time Directive

There are certain derogations in place which results in some driver not being required to monitor their WTD. This is where an individual would not drive more than 10 times within a WTD period 26 weeks or less.

If a WTD period of more than 26 weeks is being used, then you can drive up to 15 times before having to monitor your WTD.

Note – However, this does not mean you are exempt from the daily WTD rules, and you must still take your breaks where required.

The detailed version of these rules can be found on pages 17 & 38 in this VOSA Document


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For a comprehensive explanation of the Road Transport Directive and how it works alongside the Drivers hours rules get the Drivers Hours Handbook, which fully explains all the rules with real working examples.

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